Evan Blass

    Evan Blass

  • RIM's BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway on sale for $80

    BlackBerry owners looking to wirelessly connect to a home stereo or portable speakers can finally pick up that Remote Stereo Gateway we first saw sneaking through the FCC at the end of last month, for $80 from Tessco. The matchbook-size dongle receives a Bluetooth signal from your compatible 'Berry, and then pushes the audio out a standard 1/8-inch jack. According to the retail description, the device is also capable of streaming tunes from your stereo to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, which would mean that we are in fact looking at an A2DP profile here and thus likely compatibility with non-BlackBerry devices. Anyone wanna do us a solid and test this out with a WinMo phone?[Via The Boy Genius Report]

  • Philips invents breath test for diabetics

    As anyone who has a regular date with a needle knows, poking oneself on the daily can be a real pain -- in the ass or otherwise. Well there appears to be good news on the horizon for at least some of us self-stabbers: Philips is attempting to patent a method for diabetic glucose detection that eschews the finger prick for a simple breath test. Based on recent research linking blood glucose levels to the concentration of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, Philips claims to have built a non-invasive device significantly more accurate than past attempts based on sugar's spectroscopic signature. No word yet on FDA approval, commercial release, or anything of that sort, but with diabetes continuing to plague more and more individuals, let's hope this product gets put on the fast track.[Via New Scientist]

  • HD DVD camp issues sad little response to Netflix, Best Buy snubs

    Out of the many jobs in today's multi-billion dollar consumer electronics industry, the one we'd probably want least right now is writer of press releases for the HD DVD Promotional Group. After each major defection, these poor folks have to whip up a positive-sounding response to what everyone knows is very bad news -- but after yesterday's one-two punches by Netflix and Best Buy, even these paid cheerleaders are having trouble finding the right spin. Here's what they had to say, as reported by CNET: "We have long held the belief that HD DVD is the best format for consumers based on quality and value, and with more than 1 million HD DVD players on the market, it's unfortunate to see Netflix make the decision to only stock Blu-ray titles going forward. While the Best Buy announcement says they will recommend Blu-ray, at least they will continue to carry HD DVD and offer consumers a choice at retail."Doesn't sound like there's too much fight left there, does it? If the best you can do to support your dying format is to rehash the same canned argument and celebrate your remaining shelf space, well, there would seem to be a bigger problem than you're willing to admit. At this point, we're just curious to see how it will all end: after investing so much time, energy, money, and vitriol on this bitter format war, how does Toshiba move forward in a world almost completely dominated by its rival in blue?[Via High-Def Digest]

  • Intel offices raided in Germany

    As part of their investigation into the company's alleged abuse of its market position at the expense of rival AMD, EU competition regulators have raided chip giant Intel's offices in Munich, Germany, along with those of Metro AG-owned Media Markt and other unnamed PC retailers. The European Commission has been keeping a close eye on Intel since last summer, when the company was formally accused of offering rebates and making payoffs to customers and retailers in exchange for preferential treatment -- charges that Intel has repeatedly, although somewhat obtusely, denied. It's not clear at this point what material, if anything, was confiscated in these latest raids, which come exactly a month prior to a closed hearing the megacorp faces on this matter in Brussels.[Via BBC]

  • Netflix picks Blu-ray, good luck renting an HD DVD soon

    In what can only be classified as yet another crushing blow to the embattled HD DVD camp, rent-by-mail giant Netflix has just announced its intention to only stock Blu-ray titles in the future. Netflix justified its decision by pointing out the fact that most Hollywood studios seem to be converging solely around the Sony-backed format -- a fact that's all too familiar to Toshiba and friends. With both Blockbuster and now the 'Flix having eschewed HD DVD for BD, it's gonna get harder and harder to even find a place to rent those former discs in the first place, let alone one that has a decent selection.Update: It looks like all hope is not lost for HD DVD renters. Not only does Blockbuster Online still carry titles in the endangered format, but Netflix should continue offering a limited selection of discs until current stock is phased out around the end of the year.

  • Apple applies for trademark protection on gaming devices

    We're not gonna read too much into this just yet, but when everyone's favorite fruit-flavored consumer electronics company files to protect its trademark as it relates to a wide range of gaming devices, well, we feel you'd want to know. The USPTO sleuths over at Trademork just gave us the heads up on this recently-filed application from Cupertino, which requests protection of the word "APPLE" for products that classify as "toys, games and playthings, namely, hand-held units for playing electronic games; hand-held units for playing video games; stand alone video game machines; electronic games other than those adapted for use with television receivers only; LCD game machines; electronic educational game machines; toys, namely battery-powered computer games." And come to think of it, we did see Apple file for a videogame-related patent not too long ago, so who knows: perhaps the iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV will soon have even more friends among the company's ever-expanding non-PC ecosystem. Then again, we've heard this rumor in one form or another countless times before, and right now pining for a resurrected Gizmondo is already giving us enough headaches.[Via Trademork]

  • Hands-on with Kodak's new EasyShare Z1012 IS

    Those of you looking for a hybrid camera could do a lot worse than Kodak's new EasyShare Z1012 IS: besides the handy optical image stabilization, you're also getting a 10 megapixel sensor and whopping 12x optical zoom. Not too shabby for a $300 cam, not too shabby at all. Check out the gallery below for all the angles.%Gallery-15072%

  • Geotate wants to geotag the world

    The highlight of an otherwise lackluster PMA 2008 came not from Nikon, Canon, or any of the other big name companies, but rather General Imaging: GE's new camera division announced that it will release one of the world's first point-and-shoots with embedded GPS. Well, to say that the E1050 has true GPS would not be totally accurate -- but the very features it lacks are what make it possible to incorporate geotagging capabilities in the first place. You see, this model only contains a GPS radio courtesy of New Zealand-based Rakon, but no baseband chip to process the data in order to create a "fix"; rather, an NXP Semiconductor spinoff called Geotate provides server-connected software that does the heavy-duty calculations once photos have been transferred over. This results in almost no hit to battery life or endless waits for a solid fix.It works like this: every time the shutter is triggered, the camera's memory card briefly captures the raw data from the GPS radio, associating it with each photo. Then, once the pictures have been imported into Geotate's proprietary client, auxiliary location data is downloaded from a central server, which is then synthesized with the camera data using local resources to establish actual coordinates. What's more, the Geotate software hooks in to Wikipedia as well as the popular mapping and photo-sharing services, giving you real-world information about your shots while also allowing you to map them out and upload to Flickr, Picasa, and friends. Geotate tells us that besides the E1010, we can also expect to see the platform incorporated into future cams designed by Taiwanese OEM Altek, with such a reference design pictured in the gallery below, along with one for a geotagging peripheral that snaps into a DSLR hotshoe. In the longer term, Geotate hopes to embed its low-cost solution (all that's needed is a small radio and some flash memory) in all sorts of products, from PCs to sneakers to soda bottles. And that's where the name of the company comes from: Geotate stands for "GEOgraphic noTATion," with the ultimate goal being the creation of an ecosystem in which we search not by "what," but by "where."%Gallery-15065%

  • Continental rolling out DirecTV, IM, and email to 225 planes

    In another mostly positive step for in-flight entertainment options, Continental Airlines will be rolling out DirecTV along with email and IM service on 225 of its planes starting next January -- the majority of its domestic fleet, according to Reuters -- although watching some tube will reportedly cost economy passengers six bucks-a-pop. Continental is teaming up with LiveTV on the venture, a subsidiary of JetBlue which also provides that airline with DirecTV, XM, and, more recently, limited Yahoo email and IM services courtesy of its 800MHz bandwidth acquisition. LiveTV will both provide and install a majority of the in-plane hardware in exchange for most of the revenue from economy section TV viewers; the 36 DirecTV channels will be free to first class passengers, and anyone with compatible devices and a Yahoo account can connect to the flying hotspots.[Via Reuters]

  • How-to get Windows XP past the June 30th cutoff (or not)

    While it looked like Mac users couldn't wait to get their hands on the latest version of Apple's operating system, their Windows counterparts seem to have been a little more reticent about picking up Microsoft's oft-delayed Vista upgrade -- so much so that Redmond decided to both extend XP's shelf life by six months as well as offer an unprecedented "downgrade" service on select SKUs. Well with the June 30th cutoff fast approaching, PC World decided to take a look at your options for procuring an XP license after that date, but unfortunately, the picture isn't too pretty. Basically, personal users looking to purchase less than 25 licenses but not a new machine have almost no recourse; your only surefire move is to buy a new box pre-installed with Vista Business or Ultimate from an OEM opting to continue with that downgrade service. Still, caveat emptor: support for consumer versions of XP ends on April 14, 2009, and with it, the end of your Patch Tuesday celebrations.

  • Air purifiers under fire for ozone emission

    Normally we're supposed to be concerned about depleting ozone levels to the point where we inhabit one big sauna, but according to an investigative piece by the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), household air purifiers which produce the gas as a byproduct may also pose a significant threat. Studies cited by the Journal suggest that both ozone generation as well as filtration models can emit dangerous levels of the reactive gas, which can be harmful either when inhaled directly or when combined with other common chemicals. While the CSPC is currently studying hard emissions caps to place on these products, California has already taken a first step by limiting purifier ozone output to 50 parts-per-billion starting in 2010. Meanwhile, executives from mall mainstay The Sharper Image are scrambling to discover another gimmicky product they can hang their hats on.

  • This could be the first video footage of Windows 7

    Obviously a lot of people cried fake when those screenshots purporting to show Windows 7 Ultimate popped up -- possibly because they looked a lot like rebadged Vista screens -- so the blogger who originally posted the images has followed up with a video for proof. And we do have to say, if this is fake, someone put a hell of a lot of work into pulling it off, from creating a new bootup screen to hacking the source code to adding fresh Media Center options. ThinkNext tells us that this release -- known as Milestone 1 -- expires in May of this year, although if Redmond and its team of crack Enemy of the State-types have anything to say about it, this particular blog will not be getting another preview copy next time around. Video after the break.[Via Softpedia, image courtesy of ThinkNext, thanks Joshua]

  • Sony announces new Blu-ray module, should drive down costs

    Sony has announced the development of a new Blu-ray reader / writer module that is not only smaller than previous components, but promises to be cheaper as well due to a simplified manufacturing process. The new laser housing is less than three millimeters thick, according to the Japanese manufacturer and co-developer Nichia Corporation, enabling it to be incorporated into smaller devices such as portable players. Sony predicts that we'll first start seeing 9.5-millimeter laptop BD drives which employ the module later this year.[Via Tech.co.uk, thanks Kiwi616]

  • LawnBott LB3500 offers Bluetooth control, stylin' rims

    iRobot may own the market for autonomous indoor cleaning devices, but when it comes to taming that wild jungle you call a backyard, the new king of the hill may well be the LawnBott LB3500. This fourth-generation LawnBott from Kyodo America improves upon its predecessors in nearly every category: even though it weighs ten pounds less than the entry-level LB2000, it offers up a greater coverage area, increased cutting width, greatly improved incline climbing capability, longer runtime, and best of all, a Bluetooth radio for programming or direct control by cellphone. Of course, all these high-end features don't come cheap, and when the LB3500 does come to market (date: unknown), we imagine that it's gonna cost a good deal more than the current high-end, $2,500 LB3200. Check out the gallery below for some more angles.Update: Wow! Reader John Locke somehow managed to send an email from the island notifying us that The Robot Store has the LB3500 listed at $3,699, on sale for "only" $3,249. Also available is the "Super" LB3500, which is really just a kit that includes two extra lithium-ion batteries and tacks almost $600 on to the price. Thanks, John, but we bet Jack and Kate won't be too happy when they find out you have Gmail access.%Gallery-14640%[Via Slashgear]

  • Walking Chair tests your dedication to laziness, extravagance

    Anyone can go into Office Depot and pick up a rolling desk seat for fifty bucks, but it takes a truly lazy individual to shell out almost $22,000 for a chair that very slowly "walks" you into proper working position. Actually, we doubt that the commercially-available Walking Chair from Vienna-based design studio Walking Things is really built for sitting; it's more likely meant as a showpiece for the ridiculous amount of disposable income you're pulling in. Each minimalist eight-legged unit is hand-assembled upon order, meaning that you'll need to wait at least six weeks to show your friends how very little €15,000 ($21,906) mean to you.[Via Slashgear]

  • Sony mylo 2 on sale

    All five of you who have been waiting patiently for Sony to upgrade its mylo Personal Communicator should be pleased to learn that the revised internet tablet has finally gone on sale at SonyStyle. With its high-res 3.5-inch touchscreen, 1GB of storage, and improved Flash support, the $299 mylo 2 does indeed offer a number of attractive feature bumps over its predecessor -- however, we're still a little wary of how Sony's positioned this product in the market. But hey, what do we know: apparently they pushed enough first-gen units out the door to give this restyled number a shot. Starts shipping on the 28th, in either white or black, says Sony.[Thanks, Michael E]

  • Sprint layoffs start at the top

    Well, not the very top -- give the guy a chance, will ya! -- but it's clear that heads are already starting to roll at Sprint Nextel following last week's disastrous report of subscriber churn, with the company's chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, and president of sales and distribution effectively getting the boot as of tomorrow. In respective order, Paul Saleh, Tim Kelly, and Mark Angelino will all be "stepping down" on Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) -- the first casualties of a planned 4,000 head count reduction. CFO Saleh is getting replaced in the interim by Senior Vice President and Controller William Arendt, while the other two positions will be temporarily filled by unnamed executives. Sprint lost 639,000 valuable postpaid customers in the fourth quarter, and taking a look at our decidedly unscientific poll may give you some idea why.Update: Sprint sent us some more info regarding the other interim replacements: "John Garcia, currently senior vice president, Product Development and Management, will serve as acting Chief Marketing Officer. Paget Alves, currently Sprint Nextel's regional president for sales and distribution, will serve as acting president, Sales and Distribution. All will report directly to Hesse."[Image courtesy of Chip Kidd, The New York Times]

  • Israel developing autonomous "digital general": run, John, run

    Israel is reportedly developing a sophisticated piece of software meant to help troops make quick decisions during battle and, under the right conditions, autonomously manipulate the nation's defense systems. First reported in Defense News (subscription required), the unnamed system would primarily be used for tactical decisions during periods of heavy bombardment, although in a worst-case scenario, the complex algorithm would supposedly be capable of taking over total military control. Yes, we know what you're thinking, but don't worry: Israeli officials have already sworn up and down that "there's no way we're letting this thing go Terminator on us -- no freakin' way." [Via Danger Room]

  • Engadget up for three Bloggies!

    Wow, what can we say, we're totally honored. Your humble source for all things tech and gadgety has officially been nominated for three Bloggies this year -- Best Computers or Technology Weblog, Best Group Weblog, and Best-Designed Weblog (go design team!) -- the most nominations that we've ever received in this annual competition. Unlike the Weblog Awards, which allow you to vote once every 24 hours, the Bloggies have a strict one-vote-per-person rule, and actively discourage cheating by incorporating captchas and verification emails into the procedure. You have until 10:00PM Eastern on Thursday, January 31st to cast your ballot, but doing so earlier will help us all avoid these annoying reminder posts. Also, please remember: winners never cheat, and cheaters never win!

  • SpaceShipTwo, White Knight Two designs unveiled: aren't they cute?

    As expected, Sir Richard Branson has just unveiled the final designs of SpaceShipTwo and White Knight Two, Virgin Galactic's planned commercial "spaceliner" and its corresponding carrier plane. At today's American Museum of Natural History launch event, Branson once again reiterated his lofty expectations for space tech in general and the six-passenger vehicle in particular, promising to promote privatization and more widespread research by offering outside organizations access to its launch system schematics. So far, Virgin has reportedly signed up 200 committed passengers willing to pay $200,000 for a 2010-or-later suborbital flight, but for now, all they can do is look at the pretty pictures in the gallery below.%Gallery-14508%